Background: I really should be getting cardio exercise, but it's incredibly difficult for me. Because of my knee problems, I can't run, bike, use an elliptical trainer, or stairmaster. (I can do stairs here and there, but 30 minutes at a time will do damage.) Just about the only exercise that doesn't hurt the knee is walking, but I'm in my twenties and walk a lot. It's better than nothing, but not really exercise for me. Cross-country skiing is the perfect cardio in my book, but in the land of Right Here I get to do that twice a year if I'm lucky. My gym doesn't have nordic machines, and my apartment absolutely does not have space for one.
Today's Experience: I assumed that walking on a treadmill would be just like walking outside, except much more boring, so I never tried it--until today. I got to the gym stiff as a board, and it was kinda raining outside, so, just to loosen my hips a bit, I stepped on the treadmill. I inclined it all the way up to 15 degrees and set the speed at 4 mph.
A minute later, I realized I was breathing hard and would soon break a sweat. It felt fantastic, went for a full 5 minutes, then stopped, as it was only intended to be a warmup. (But boring. Very boring. At least with weight lifting, you get variety.)
Am I right about this? Could treadmill walking be the key to aerobic fitness for battered ole me? Or will hanging on that stupid bar bore me into walking away?
absolutely increase the incline to give your knees a break and get the cardio you need! I've got a good friend who used to be a runner... she does exactly that! The only way I can make myself stay on a treadmill is to crank up my ipod! Get you 45 minutes worth of good music and go for it for at least 30 minutes. Get a good magazine to cover up all the numbers, and forget about time as long as you can!
I love to use the treadmill! I definitely agree that listening to music is the way to go. I download music just to use for working out and I always look forward to it. It makes the treadmill much more exciting. I also find that the treadmill works better for me than walking outside because it's not as hard as pavement, therefore easier on the joints. I have a problem left knee (happened recently) and actually can use the elliptical all I want and the bike is okay too. I just can't run very much right now! Walking is definitely good and I'd stick with it. I always get that "runner's high" that makes me feel good while exercising, even if it's more of a fast walk while my knee gets a break!
Nothing wrong with treadmill walking. I get some great workouts walking on the treadmill when my back bothers me too much to run. Might I offer a suggestion though...try not to hold on to the bar, if at all possible. From my own personal experience (and also everything I have read)...holding onto the bar supports too much of the upper body which results in a less effective workout. Drop the incline and speed to a level that you can comfortably walk "hands-free", and pump those arms just like you would walking outside. You won't believe the difference it makes! As a general rule...I always aim for going "hands free" on ANY cardio machine. It took me a few months of practice in small increments to finally go hands-free on the Stairmaster, but it is WAY more effective than draping my body over the handlebars like I see SO many people at the gym doing. Same goes for the elliptical machine...going hands-free almost makes it feel like I'm running, without actually running. Try it and you'll see!
100% yes. Incline is the *best* way to increase intensity without additional impact. And it does a great job of it, too.
One more suggestion; depending on the kind of knee issues you have, you might look into the MBT athletic shoes. They're weird, they're expensive and they're not "comfortable", but I've seen them do near-miracles. My sister used to run 2-4 miles daily until she ended up with a torn ACL and thought she'd never run again. After 2 years of low impact exercise and healing, she tried those shoes and runs now almost every day, pain and damage free. I'm not saying they're magic and will definitely work for anyone, but depending on your specific issues, it may be worth a second look. They take most of the impact off of the knees by removing heel contact through the sole, so your calves and quads pick up more of the impact. Anyway, just a thought. I was actually shocked by the improvement, and if they can help *anyone* I'ms all for it.
Keep your body lean, your blood clean and your mind sharp. -Rollins
Thanks, everybody for the encouragement. Believe it or not, my hamstrings are sore today! From 5 minutes, plus some work on the abductor machine. I guess I'll just have to move up from there. Still, I'm ecstatic that I've found a way to exercise my major leg muscles at all.
(I've also learned that doing small pulses on the abductor machine, alternating with full range of motion, puts a lot of the work on your gluteals instead. It's fantastically effective).
About shoes: Unfortunately, for me it's not the impact, it's simply any activity that puts my knee through a large range of motion, especially with pressure on it. Hence, no biking, and different shoes are unlikely to help.
That's great! Sounds like the treadmill walking will be effective for you! Yes, that would make sense about shoes not being a problem if it's the motion of the knee, not the impact that bothers you. Sometimes during spinning class I wonder how my knee DOESN'T hurt when we have to spin so fast and our knees are having to bend so quickly! I hope your new workout routine continues to work well for you! I seem to get better results on the treadmill rather than other machines, such as elliptical, as well. I agree that avoiding the handlebars is a good idea. I see a LOT of people running while putting a lot of weight on their arms, and to me that's like cheating. It'll definitely take away from the exercise your legs get.
Hey I don't mind the treadmil walking, I listen to my music, disco, in particular or Pink and it makes me really have incentive to up my mph and time. At our gym we also have TV programs going in front of the treadmils and ellipticals so if music kind of runs ya dry you can cool down while watching TV, a little variety helps a lot! I hate to do my walking outside, car fumes, weather, it has to be just right for me to enjoy exercise outside.
This is my first post and this is something I can relate too because I have been walking on a treadmill for two months now. I generally eat a bowl of cereal and then jump on my machine right away for two miles or so at speeds of 3.5mph to 4.3 with changing the incline up and down. Then after work I do a bit longer and faster pace for 4 miles. My fav way to do it is to listen to fast hard rock music, and sometimes NFL network on the TV to watch...LOL. I have had very good success with this program along with eating right and drinking water all day. I take a couple things to help burn some fat, Meltdown 3 of them, MYO Test Pro Anabolic Amplifier and Acei Flush, and I am have lost around 25 pounds in a little more than two months. I am hoping to get into some 5k walks at some point and a half marathon in the fall. I am really getting into this living right thing ( finally ) tired of my clothes not fitting , back always hurting, etc etc...and I would really like to see my 11 year daughter graduate high school because the rate that I was going that was not going to happen. Glad I found this forum lots of useful info. Greetings all!!!
I think that walking is underated. One of my tricks was to wear a pedometer and get in 10,000 steps a day, and eventually I increased it to 12,000 steps a day. Wearing the pedometer makes you much more aware of when you are having a lazy day. I found that I used stairs more, and parked my car father away from the door. Now, I use my treadmill at least three days a week. I jog at 5.2 for three minutes, then walk at 4.0 for two minutes. I keep alternating until I have done 3.5 miles. It usually takes me about 45 minutes. I also lift weights at least two days a week. Right now, I am not getting the results I want, but I feel it is probably related to me just finding out that I am suffering from hypothyroidism.
I do that to! Love to get on the treadmil and walk 4.2mph and then do 30 sec sprints at 5.1. I think it builds more stamina walking and doing sprints throughout the walk. Today I actually ran 10 minutes at 4.2 tho, not suppose to run because of my low bone density in the lower back and hips, but it felt so good! I also lift weights 30 minutes prior to walking, I seem to run and walk better. Good weather I walk at a school track!